Because February is Women's History Month I wanted to share with my readers the story of strong and courageous women in my life. You will be able to follow along as you wish by choosing the label "Women of Courage" in the right side bar. I encourage my readers to join me in honoring women of courage in your own families.
When my 5th great-grandmother Anna Maria (Mary) Warner was born in Schoharie New York in 1735, she could not have known the hard times she would go through as an adult. Her husband Isaac Van Valkenburg aka Vollick was imprisoned three times during the American Revolution for his Loyalist sympathies. When he was in prison, Mary was solely responsible for their 10 children.
After Isaac was released from prison he joined Butler's Rangers and fled to Canada. Mary continued to aid the British, and in 1779 she and the children were taken from their home at North River, New York by American patriots. Their home was burned, Mary and the children were marched 80 miles north through the forest and left in destitute circumstances to either die or figure out how to get to Canada. Luckily natives found Mary and helped them reach Montreal by July of 1779.
There the family received food rations, lodging and blankets until 1782 when they settled in the Niagara area as impoverished Loyalists. Then came the Hungry Years when crops failed and food was scarce. Hundreds of Loyalists perished. I can not begin to imagine how Mary survived and kept her family alive during these times.